North Bay top doctor in favour of vaccine passports
Ontario saw nearly 800 new COVID-19 cases Friday, as the province navigates the fourth wave of the pandemic.
As the case count continues to rise, Dr. Jim Chirico, medical officer of health from the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, told CTV News a regional vaccine passport could be rolled out.
“Doing it on a regional basis, it would provide a little bit more consistency, security and coordination,” said Chirico.
“We’ve seen in the past when there are different health units that have different restrictions, people will simply travel to less restricted areas. So that doesn’t work. So we need to try and be as consistent as possible throughout the entire district.”
Chirico added he has been in contact with other medical officers of health across the north about regional vaccine passport options, but said he wants to see it done provincially.
There are reports the Ford government will roll out a vaccine passport of some kind early next week.
“It would be much more efficient and effective, and much more easily coordinated,” said Chirico.
“The consistency would be there if it was done provincially. There are issues potentially with security and that could be addressed on a provincial basis.”
Mayor Al McDonald also wants to see a vaccine passport put in place, as he fears more lockdowns could be ahead.
“I think that passport for one encourages younger people to get vaccinated because that’s an area that we really need to see improve," McDonald said. "Secondly, I think it’s going to keep us safe and allow us to be normal allow businesses to reopen so I’m very supportive."
“The passport will protect local businesses so they can stay open. It’s been devastating -- they keep getting closed,” he added.
Health officials said the North Bay/Parry Sound district has 73 per cent of individuals age 12 and up double vaccinated.
The health unit, in partnership with the city, is now offering a mobile vaccination clinic. It’s a retrofitted city bus that will offer doses of Pfizer and Moderna shots starting Tuesday.
The mobile clinic does not require an appointment and will be travelling throughout the city and surrounding areas.
The health unit said the goal of the mobile clinic is to better reach people who can’t easily access clinics that are being offered by themselves.